Reservists’ COBRA, FMLA Rights

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, many employers awoke to the reality that employees who serve in the National Guard or other reserve units were being called to active duty.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects reservists when they’re away from work for extended periods. Reservists on active duty can maintain health insurance coverage by electing COBRA continuation. If they drop coverage, the law requires that coverage be reinstated, with no waiting period, when they return to work.

Employers are also obligated to count time spent on active duty toward the calendar and hour requirements for coverage under the FMLA. For example, reservists who return after a six-month active tour of duty should be treated as if they’d worked those six months for their employer. They would be eligible for FMLA leave if that time put them over the 12-month, 1,250-hour requirement for eligibility.

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